Monday, 21 December 2009
People talk about the problems in Greece and Ireland
But if you look at this graph you'll see that compared to Greece we in the UK have a bigger budget deficit, albeit with a significantly smaller debt-to-GDP ratio. The reaction of the Greeks is to strike, riot and generally not accept that they're all collectively working the system to their own advantage and not the common good of their nation, and they continue to choose voting for whoever will butter their own personal bread the thickest even though their kids and grandchildren will pay for all of it. Perhaps they will get a surprise and find that in the longer term they get to pay too because the wheels fall off sooner than they hope.
Compare the UK to Ireland and you'll see that we have bigger budget deficit ratio as well as higher overall debt-to-GDP ratio. The Irish reaction is that they must seriously cut public services and public sector pay rates in order to reduce their budget deficit, hopefully there is a chance they can stay solvent in the longer term. This is pragmatic and there is hope that their economy will be able to recover as a result of accepting these steps are necessary.
And yet everyone thinks "it can't happen here"? I don't understand why, personally. Here nobody is willing to accept that we can't afford those wonderful frontline public services that are so sacred to Labour (or more to the point, to the unions -- those large blocks of loyal voters are really all that is cherished by Labour if truth be stated). Nobody (yet) accepts that those cuts must and will be made, and the longer we delay them the worse they will have to be.